Court records unsealed today reveal that Abdirahman Sheik Mohamud, 25, of Columbus, Ohio, pleaded guilty to all counts alleged against him regarding a terrorist plot.
A federal grand jury charged Mohamud in April 2015 with one count of attempting to provide and providing material support to terrorists, one count of attempting to provide and providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization – namely, al-Nusrah Front – and one count of making false statements to the FBI involving international terrorism in an indictment returned in Columbus. Mohamud pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Preston Deavers on Aug. 14, 2015, and the plea was sealed because of an ongoing investigation.
According to court documents, Mohamud is a Somali-born naturalized citizen of the U.S. who, in 2014, obtained a U.S. passport and one-way ticket to Greece. During his travel in April 2014, Mohamud did not board his connecting flight to Athens, Greece; rather, during his layover in Istanbul, Turkey, he completed pre-arranged plans to cross the border into Syria. In Syria, Mohamud received training from al-Nusrah Front, a terrorist organization affiliated with al-Qaeda.
According to a statement of facts supporting Mohamud’s guilty plea, while in Syria, Mohamud trained with al-Nusrah Front on fitness, and on the use of weapons and tactics. Mohamud also engaged in a firefight and expressed his desire to die fighting in Syria.
After his brother was killed while fighting for al-Nusrah Front, Mohamud returned to the U.S. According to the statement of facts, after returning to the U.S., Mohamud planned to obtain weapons in order to kill military officers or other government employees or people in uniform. Evidence seized by the FBI indicates that Mohamud researched places in the U.S. to carry out such plans.
Mohamud was originally arrested and indicted in state court and a $1 million bond was set that maintained him in custody. Those state charges were dismissed when the federal prosecution commenced. Mohamud was then transferred into federal custody following the April 2015 indictment and remains in custody.
Providing material support to terrorists and providing material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization are each crimes punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Making false statements involving international terrorism carries a maximum sentence of eight years in prison.